Do I close my basement heat registers??


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Old 12-21-09, 09:08 AM
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Do I close my basement heat registers??

I have a new 2000 sq ft rambler with 9' ceilings. Basement is unfinished but run for heat/air. (there's one finished bath down there)

Do I leave all the heat registers open upstairs AND down for winter heating? My thought is that it would heat from the bottom up? Any suggestions??
 
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Old 12-21-09, 10:35 AM
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studies have shown closing registers can usually end up decreasing efficiencies. Considering the smoke-stack effect of heating season, you are probably correct in your thoughts. Open up all the basement registers because that heat wont be wasted. It will just raise up to the upstairs.

That would also help reduce static pressure in the system, increase runtimes, increase time between cycles, all of which would help to increase the efficiency of the system.
 
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Old 12-21-09, 10:53 AM
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Hi uteman, as badtlc stated it isn't as easy as just closing off the ones you don't need. In fact, I often wonder why they but closable vents in homes in the first place. A properly balanced system will often have dampers in different trunk lines where the tech adjusted the airflow so everything was balanced. So, if you want to close some, you should open others, or essentially have a plan that maintains the balance in the system.

Now, as for dumping extra heat into an unfinished basement, IMO, that's almost the same as sending it out a window. All concrete walls above grade have about an R=1 value for insulation. That's the same as a single pane of glass and we all know how cold old windows are. It's ok to allow some heat to go down there, but take a look at some easy steps for air sealing the rim joist and maybe some rigid insulation over the above grade walls. That way the heat will stick around for a little while before it is donated to global warming .

Lots of info on insulating basements when you are ready.

Bud
 
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Old 12-21-09, 07:16 PM
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Thanks for the responses!

BTW Bud, my basement walls are insulated at R19 as well as the Rim Joists. My attic is at R50 and the main floor walls are R19 as well.

I'll try opening it up downstairs for the next few days and see how it goes. Temps have been in the 20's (and lower) the past few weeks in Salt Lake City so I'm getting a good test!
 
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Old 12-21-09, 09:47 PM
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Pretty nice unfinished basement . Sounds like adding the heat down there will primarily warm the floor above, which is nice.

The primary indicator you have is the plenum temperature. If you reduce the air flow too much, the temp will rise and hit the high limit switch. If you have too much air, it can bounce the other way while getting started. Some of the smarted heating systems use multiple speed or variable speed blowers and inside and outside sensors to provide even more accurate control.

Sounds like you are all set
Bud
 
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Old 12-22-09, 10:08 AM
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Thanks Bud. Yeah, the city made me insulate in the unfinished basement and go to R50 in the attic due to my 80% furnace. I didn't realize my RES-check was for 90% (to code) so I then had to do the basement as I had already installed the system.
 
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Old 12-23-09, 12:25 PM
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I open all the vents in the basement and close most on the top floor in the winter (tri-level house). Reverse in the summer.

All for naught if I can't get my wife to close the basement door.
 
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Old 12-23-09, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by uteman1011 View Post
Thanks Bud. Yeah, the city made me insulate in the unfinished basement and go to R50 in the attic due to my 80% furnace.
Now we have the furnace police. There is no end in site that I can see.
 
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Old 12-24-09, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
Now we have the furnace police. There is no end in site that I can see.
You know it! There were some pretty crazy codes I had to follow building this house!
 
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Old 12-24-09, 03:44 PM
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Make sure you can identify "heat registers" and know the difference between a supply and a return. If you don't draw in the cool air, it will always settle and a basement can be stale and cold, which effects the rest of the house unless the basement is hermetically sealed from the rest of the house.

A furnace with a true variable speed fan does wonders, especially with an open plan and can actually cost very little and give you much better control.

Dick
 
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Old 12-28-09, 12:04 PM
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My parents used to close off the heat ducts in their finished basement in the winter, after they got too old to go up and down the stairs and quit using the basement. With the basement door shut and no air circulation down there, the basement would get a musty, stale smell. I started leaving a couple heat ducts open year round, so there is some air circulation in the unused basement, and it smells a lot fresher as a result.
 
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Old 12-29-09, 11:00 AM
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I agree - I would never shut all vents in an area

In the summer I close 3 of 5 downstairs
In the winter I close 4 of 6 upstairs
There are 3 on the middle level I leave open all year
 
 

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